The White Poodle by Alexander Kuprin

Russian LiteratureChildren BooksRussian PoetryAlexander Kuprin – The White Poodle – Contents

< < < . III .
. V . > > >


The porter continued to cry, and at the same time to leap awkwardly down the steep path, the sleeves of his blouse trembling in the wind and the body of it blown out like a sail.

“O-ho-ho! Wait, you three!”

“There’s no finishing with these people,” growled Lodishkin angrily. “It’s Artoshka they’re after again.”

“Grandfather, what d’you say? Let’s pitch into him!” proposed Sergey bravely.

“You be quiet! Don’t be rash! But what sort of people can they be? God forgive us….”

“I say, this is what you’ve got to do…,” began the panting porter from afar. “You’ll sell that dog. Eh, what? There’s no peace with the little master. Roars like a calf: ‘Give me, give me the dog….’ The mistress has sent. ‘Buy it,’ says she, ‘however much you have to pay.’”

“Now that’s pretty stupid on your mistress’s part,” cried Lodishkin angrily, for he felt considerably more sure of himself here on the shore than he did in somebody else’s garden. “And I should like to ask how can she be my mistress? She’s your mistress, perhaps, but to me further off than a third cousin, and I can spit at her if I want to. And now, please, for the love of God … I pray you … be so good as to go away … and leave us alone.”

But the porter paid no attention. He sat down on the pebbles beside the old man, and, awkwardly scratching the back of his neck with his fingers, addressed him thus:

“Now, don’t you grasp, fool?…”

“I hear it from a fool,” interrupted the old man.

“Now, come … that’s not the point…. Just put it to yourself. What’s the dog to you? Choose another puppy; all your expense is a stick, and there you have your dog again. Isn’t that sense? Don’t I speak the truth? Eh?”

Grandfather meditatively fastened the strap which served him as a belt. To the obstinate questions of the porter he replied with studied indifference.

“Talk on, say all you’ve got to say, and then I’ll answer you at once.”

“Then, brother, think of the number,” cried the porter hotly. “Two hundred, perhaps three hundred roubles in a lump! Well, they generally give me something for my work … but just you think of it. Three whole hundred! Why, you know, you could open a grocer’s shop with that….”

Whilst saying this the porter plucked from his pocket a piece of sausage, and threw it to the poodle. Arto caught it in the air, swallowed it at a gulp, and ingratiatingly wagged his tail.

“Finished?” asked Lodishkin sweetly.

“Doesn’t take long to say what I had to say. Give the dog, and the money will be in your hands.”

“So-o,” drawled grandfather mockingly. “That means the sale of the dog, I suppose?”

“What else? Just an ordinary sale. You see, our little master is so crazy. That’s what’s the matter. Whatever he wants, he turns the whole house upside down. ‘Give,’ says he, and it has to be given. That’s how it is without his father. When his father’s here … holy Saints!… we all walk on our heads. The father is an engineer; perhaps you’ve heard of Mr. Obolyaninof? He builds railway lines all over Russia. A millionaire! They’ve only one boy, and they spoil him. ‘I want a live pony,’ says he—here’s a pony for you. ‘I want a boat,’ says he—here’s a real boat. There is nothing that they refuse him….”

“And the moon?”

“That is, in what sense?” asked the porter.

“I say, has he never asked for the moon from the sky?”

“The moon. What nonsense is that?” said the porter, turning red. “But come now, we’re agreed, aren’t we, dear man?”

By this time grandfather had succeeded in putting on his old green-seamed jacket, and he drew himself up as straight as his bent back would permit.

“I’ll ask you one thing, young man,” said he, not without dignity. “If you had a brother, or, let us say, a friend, that had grown up with you from childhood—Now stop, friend, don’t throw sausage to the dog … better eat it yourself…. You can’t bribe the dog with that, brother—I say, if you had a friend, the best and truest friend that it’s possible to have … one who from childhood … well, then, for example, for how much would you sell him?”

“I’d find a price even for him!…”

“Oh, you’d find a price. Then go and tell your master who builds the railroads,” cried grandfather in a loud voice—“Go and tell him that not everything that ordinarily is for sale is also to be bought. Yes! And you’d better not stroke the dog. That’s to no purpose. Here, Arto, dog, I’ll give it you. Come on, Sergey.”

“Oh, you old fool!” cried the porter at last.

“Fool; yes, I was one from birth, but you, bit of rabble, Judas, soul-seller!” shouted Lodishkin. “When you see your lady-general, give her our kind respects, our deepest respects. Sergey, roll up the mattress. Ai, ai, my back, how it aches! Come on.”

“So-o, that’s what it means,” drawled the porter significantly.

“Yes. That’s what it is. Take it!” answered the old man exasperatingly. The troupe then wandered off along the shore, following on the same road. Once, looking back accidentally, Sergey noticed that the porter was following them; his face seemed cogitative and gloomy, his cap was over his eyes, and he scratched with five fingers his shaggy carrotty-haired neck.

< < < . III .
. V . > > >

Russian LiteratureChildren BooksRussian PoetryAlexander Kuprin – The White Poodle – Contents

Copyright holders –  Public Domain Book

If you liked this site, subscribe , put likes, write comments!

Share on social networks

Check out Our Latest Posts

© 2023 Akirill.com – All Rights Reserved

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s